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Driving during 1st year

Original post made by Mom of new driver, Mohr Park, on Dec 10, 2009

I've heard so many versions of this I just wanted to check with all out there. My soon to be 16 year old will be getting her license in a couple of weeks. During the first year of driving, who LEGALLY can she have in the car with her?

I've heard that it's okay to have a sibling in the car if you "have a note". I've also heard this is not legal and the police, when caught, will make the sibling get out of the car and walk and he will ticket the driver.

Further, I think a lot of parents "look the other way" when their child is actually driving friends and siblings around during this first year which makes it tough for the rest of us parents that are trying to go by the rules.

What are the real laws (I know what DMV says) and how strict are they around Pleasanton? I don't want to be the only one enforcing them.

Comments (11)

Posted by Parent of Two
a resident of Val Vista
on Dec 10, 2009 at 9:59 am

Parent of Two is a registered user.

Check the DMV website. They have a special page for teen drivers and the restrictions.

One thing you may be confused about is that the teen CAN drive a younger sibling to and from school IF IT IS A HARDSHIP ON THE PARENTS. In other words, if both parents work full-time and cannot be a taxi service during school hours, it's OK legally, but make sure you outline that in the letter in the car.

They can't drive siblings to the store or to the movies or to the party across town. TO AND FROM SCHOOL only.

Posted by another mom
a resident of Mohr Park
on Dec 10, 2009 at 1:22 pm

You are right that a lot of other parents just turn a blind eye to this. Having a 16 year old, I see it all the time with his friends and it is very frustrating. Apparently I am "the only one who cares" about the law (according to my son). None the less, I still strictly enforce it with him. Us rule following parents need to stick together!! :)

Posted by Sue
a resident of Birdland
on Dec 10, 2009 at 7:17 pm

If you call the Pleasanton police they will tell you, it is against the law to drive a sibling ever....a note does nothing. I would highly recommend you call the non emergency number and ask them. Most kids will say that the police don't really do anything if they get pulled over with someone in the car. I know of at least 3 kids that have been in front of a judge and lost there license until age 18. I don't think it's worth the risk.

Posted by My kid drives
a resident of Foothill High School
on Dec 11, 2009 at 7:45 am

Here's an article I saw on the Foothill High School website. It's pretty good. I copied it for my kid to read.

Learning how to drive should come first

By Officer Ken McNeill
Pleasanton Police Department

Congratulations! You just got your driver’s license. Now you can drive your friends to school, right? Hmmm. Let me think … NO!
Regardless of your recently acquired skills behind the wheel, there are driving restrictions when you have a California Provisional Drivers License. Those restrictions are there for a reason. Most crashes involving teen drivers are a result of inexperience, risk-taking, poor judgment, and poor decision making. It takes time and practice to achieve that driver know-how, skill and judgment that we police officers appreciate.
Violating your agreement to follow those restrictions could result in heavy fines from the court, community service, or both. Or worse yet, when your parents find out you may lose your driving privilege altogether.
As a reminder, the law says that during their first 12 months, unless accompanied by a parent or another licensed driver who is at least 25 years old, a provisional driver under the age of 18 may not transport passengers under 20 years of age at any time and they may not drive between the hours of 11 p.m. to 5 a.m.
These restrictions include driving a brother or sister somewhere. This is often where the most confusion lies with many parents. The only time is it alright to drive a sibling who is under 20 years old is when reasonable transportation is unavailable (bicycle or within walking distance is considered reasonable) and it is necessary for the provisional driver to drive an immediate family member. In this case, you must have a signed note from your parent that includes the reason why and date the necessity will end. And parents should be aware they may have to stand before the traffic judge and justify that immediate need.
Other exceptions include:
• A medical necessity when reasonable transportation alternatives are inadequate. The note must be signed by a physician and contain the medical reason and probable date of recovery.
• A school-authorized activity. The note must be signed by your school principal, dean, or his/her designee.
• An employment necessity and the need to operate a vehicle as part of your employment. The note must be signed by your employer verifying employment.

So remember, your first year of driving should be used to learn how to do just that – DRIVE.

Posted by janice
a resident of Country Fair
on Dec 11, 2009 at 8:36 am

To Mom of new Driver: Your comment "I don't want to be the only one enforcing them." is ridiculous and makes you sound just like your new teenage driver! Stand up and be the parent. Your son will benefit greatly. By the way, my son just got his license last week. I will be following all the DMV and police rules, as well as some of my own!!

Posted by All you Moms
a resident of Birdland
on Dec 11, 2009 at 10:21 am

To all you moms...

I hate to burst anyones bubble, but unless you are with your child 24/7 when they are driving I guarantee you they have broken your rule one or twice or will do so soon.

My children are adults now and we enforced these rules and have taken away priveledges as the year (or 6 months at that time) when they broke the rules. Pressures from friends most often win unfortunately. I believe my children crumbled many times under there pressures, my oldest is now a mother herself and will soon realize why us parents try to stick to our guns.

Good luck

Posted by Patricia
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Dec 11, 2009 at 10:38 am

Know that when your kid complains that you are the only mom enforcing the rules, he/she is wrong. Many of us insist our kids follow the law. Also know that your kid will break the rules and so will their friends. That's when it's time to take away priveleges. I found out that a friend my kid swore had his year, really didn't and after that he wasn't allowed to get in a car with anyone unless the other kid showed me his license. It was embarrassing for him and them, but I stuck to it and let him know that if he got caught breaking the rules he wouldn't be driving at all. It's inconvenient, but it's only for a year. So stick to your guns!

Posted by jimf01
a resident of another community
on Dec 11, 2009 at 11:00 am

What an unbelievable comment: "What are the real laws (I know what DMV says) and how strict are they around Pleasanton? I don't want to be the only one enforcing them."

Maybe I need this Mom to explain the comment, but the real laws ARE what DMV says. How strictly they are enforced, and whether you are regarded as a cool Mom or not doesn't make a difference if your kid is in the hospital, jail, or morgue because you didn't want to enforce boundaries and rules.

Look at this story from this week in my town, Tracy Press. 17 yr old with a provisional license, 75+ in a 35 at 2:30 pm near a school.
Web Link

Reminds everyone in Tracy of the Bret Clifton story, well known kid in town, well known for racing around in his BMW. In the wreck he lost his legs, his best friend was killed, and his best friends sister and another friend were seriously hurt.

Posted by Benjamin
a resident of Gatewood
on Dec 11, 2009 at 12:34 pm

Our daughter is now 20. When she got her license we made it very clear that she was to have NO ONE in her car. If she did, the car would be taken away, and she would walk everywhere. And we would not have her lack of judgement affect us. This meant we would not be driving her around. This would include school, afterschool functions, or anywhere else WE were not already planning to go. Because we had a history of following thru on what we said I am confident that she did not have anyone in her car. When we found out that she had been in someone else's car that did not have 1 year she knew that other parents in the community were also watching for us. Like they say "It takes a Village".

Posted by troutgal
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Dec 12, 2009 at 1:16 am

Pros and Cons of a Teenage Driver
Pros: If your son gets his license at 16, then at age 25, he will qualify for a greatly discounted insurance because he has 7 years of driving experience; IF, he has a good driving record.
If your son is living at home he must be under your insurance, no matter what age; which, will be the most economic until he gets his own insurance.

Cons: If you currently own assets such as a home, a Liability Umbrella Policy is a crucial choice when you have teenage drivers, or recreation vehicles (boats/ATVs/dirt bikes...)
Liability Umbrella Policy is the coverage that protects your assets in case there is an accident by any family member and the policy covers you no matter where you are. Make sure YOU know what it covers.
If he is going from plan A to B but doesn't tell you he went to C, there needs to be consequences in driving privileges. Believe me, you will find out. Pleasanton is a small town, and mom's talk...

Teenage Driver Responsibility:
OK, the law is the law....picture this, a car full of teens have an accident with injuries AND the driver has not met the 1 year experience... guess who will be liable?...The parent(s) of the driving teen!!!
DON'T GIVE IN TO "Well everybody else does it"! If you find your son is not a RESPONSIBLE driver, take the driving privileges away for a week, a month, 3 months, a year?...Depending on the situation. Remember, it's YOUR assets at risk.

Last, don't buy a car for your teen until he's 18. Borrowing the family car gives him the responsibility of take care of YOUR asset. I believe giving the privilege to drive with boundaries allows to learn confidence, skills and self esteem. Also, teach them how to use public transportation such as Bart, Muni, and Caltrain.

Note: Both our teens got their license on their 16th birthday. I highly recommend to teach him how to plan trips with you being the back seat driver. He should drive over all the bridges, know north/east/south/west directions by the landscape of the Bay Area, drive hwy 17 to Santa Cruz (hint, obey speed limit, very curvy and hilly), drive to Golden Gate Park, Great America, Berkeley, Oakland, Monterey, or a cross country trip with the family.

Teens aren't perfect, but you can still raise a responsible driver! More experience equals a better driver.

Posted by lyndalu
a resident of Amador Estates
on Dec 13, 2009 at 9:01 am

My son is 16 and did get pulled over for having another kid in the car. The kid had to get out of the car and find his own way home and my son received a ticked in which we had to go to traffic court to see the judge (all kids who receive a ticket need to see the judge in traffic court along wiht the kid's parent). While in court, we heard a lot of other kids' cases before ours and ALL of them were ticketed for having another kid in the car. The judge gave all the kids a warning if it were there 1st ticket. The 2nd ticket costs some $$$$ and the third ticket can lose their license. Since the kids' license are only probationary in the first 12 months, they probably wont get 3 tickets within a year.

Yes, it looks like most teens to break this rule but as you'll soon find out when your child starts driving, it's hard to control what they do when they are out of your sight.

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